Thursday, 3 September 2015

Blog Tour: Sigil of the Wyrm by A. J. Campbell

I have a jam packed post for you today, as I join the blog tour for the fabulous new urban fantasy release, Sigil of the Wyrm, and its talented author A. J. Campbell. I have a bit on the book, its trailer, a quick Q and A with the author on geeky things, a giveaway, and most delightful of all a Fireside Chat interview with one of the book's characters, Kate Avery. So read on, and enjoy!



Sigil of the Wyrm by A. J. Campbell






Available on:






About the Author:

Born and raised in the wilds of Northumbria, A.J. Campbell was brought up on a diet of stories and local folklore, of which the Legend of the Lampton Worm was a perennial favourite. She eventually left her home town to study English and Creative Writing at the University of Warwick and now lives in Hampshire, (which she persists in calling the “wrong” end of the country), with her fiancĂ© and a succession of dead houseplants. At weekends she can often be found dressing up and pretending to be other people, immersing herself in the lives of fictional historical characters—or as it is better known, “LARPing”. She makes her own costumes and has a weakness for detective stories.



And for a little insight, here’s a quick geeky Q&A from our author:


Star Wars or Star Trek?
            Trek when I want to think, Wars when I want to feel.

Hunger Games or Divergent?
            Hunger Games

James Bond or Jack Ryan?
            Bond. Who’s Jack Ryan?

Sherlock: Robert Downey, Jr. or Benedict Cumberbatch?
            They’re both excellent, but I have to express a slight preference for RDJ

Spock: Leonard Nimoy or Zachary Quinto?
            Again, both fantastic actors, but Quinto just edges out Nimoy.

X-Men or Avengers?
            Impossible choice! X-Men has far more decent female characters, I’ve been into it for longer, and I love the latest film reboot, First Class and Days of Future Past… but Avengers had Joss Whedon writing the movie screenplay…

Aliens or Predators?
            Neither. Or both at once in Regency England.

Minions or Penguins?
            I’m assuming we mean the penguins from Madagascar, not just any old penguins? In which case I choose Minions.

Batman or Superman?
            Wonder Woman.

Harry Potter or Pirates of the Caribbean?
            Love both, but am going to have to choose Harry Potter because they were books first.

Beatles or Rolling Stones?
            Rolling Stones.

Peter Jackson or James Cameron?
            Peter Jackson every time. Can’t stand James Cameron.

Steven Spielberg or George Lucas?
            Spielberg.

Vampires or Werewolves?
            Werewolves

Jane Austen or Charlotte Bronte?
            Jane Austen

Marvel or DC Comics
            DC over Marvel because a) Wonder Woman and b) Birds of Prey

LARP or MORPG?
            LARP





 And now for the featured character interview... 


Fireside Chat with Kate Avery



“Welcome everyone, to another Fireside Chat. I’m Richard Dale, your host. Today, our guest is Kate Avery, Pirate Queen of the Weirding World.” Richard nods to the woman sitting opposite to him. “Welcome Kate. Why don’t you begin by telling our audience a bit about yourself.”

Kate smiles, coyly, “What, and ruin my mystique? Really, Richard, apart from the devastatingly good looks and mind like a steel trap, I’m quite ordinary. I’ve even given up the seafaring life to run a jeweler’s… for the time being.”

“Fascinating. From the sea to a shop, quite the change.” Richard tosses her a smile. “Being a Pirate Queen must have lent itself to some exciting moments. Do any of your adventures stand out as especially memorable?”

Hmm…” Kate ponders the question for a minute. “I think that’s one of those ‘I could tell you but then I’d have to kill you,’ questions. Most of the really interesting ones are those where I haven’t yet been pegged as the culprit, so, unless you really care to live dangerously…”

Um, no. I’ve had my fill of dangerous interviews, thank you.” He suddenly leans in closer. “Rumour has it that your marriage to the Baron is in trouble. Care to elaborate?

Her voice suddenly becomes firm.“On that subject, I’d rather not,” She says, flashing our host a dangerous glance, which in an instant softens into a rather stilted laugh. “What I mean to say is, I’ve never been the sort to kiss and tell. Let’s just say, I’m not ruling anything out at this point in time.”

“Well then, on the to the next question. What is your connection to Richard Lampton and Lampton Wyrm?”

“Not so much a connection to him as to his uncle. Everyone in the Weirding knew Tom Lampton, and then when he died, I felt I owed it to his heir to help him adjust to his new life. He hadn’t been brought up to it, see?” She shrugs. “Call me an interested well-wisher, if you like.”

How very gracious of you.” He glances to his right. “Oh, I believe it’s time for tea.” They are interrupted by the arrival a gentleman carrying a tea tray. He sets it down and waits to pour. “Care for a cup? It’s excellent. Earl Grey.” Kate nods. Two cups are poured and served. Richard takes a sip. “See, excellent. All right. Moving on. What is your favourite part of the Weirding World?”

“The Jewellery?” she laughs. “I do have something of a fascination with gold and gems, and of course in our world they have far more hidden properties than in yours. There are secret places to unlock, hidden treasures to find – and of course diamonds are a girl’s best friend!”

“Indeed. On a different subject, do you have any hobbies?”

“Hobbies?” Her forehead wrinkles. “I’m not sure I’d have time. I enjoy a drink and a smoke and a game of cards once in a while? I’m not sure that counts.”

I do believe it’s close enough. What is your idea of perfect happiness?”

“Getting my own way.”

“I don’t think on comment on that answer. What one word best describes you?”

“Formidable.”

“I definite agree with that assessment.” He gives a gentle laugh. One last question. How do you want to be remembered, what legacy do you want to leave behind?”

“Well, since I rather intend on never dying, I’m hoping the question will never arise. I would, however, be happy to be known as ‘the one that got away’ – in all possible senses of the phrase.”

“Well thank you Kate, for agreeing to this interview. It’s been a delight. I’m Richard Dale and that concludes our Fireside Chat.”



Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Storms

Today on Drabble Wednesday look to the horizon, there are storms coming…




Ruins

Only the tower remains to greet the lightning.
Charred, broken, but still standing. A lingering monument to a decimated civilization.
A monument to the storms.
It was not always so, the skies did not always seethe with the bite of electricity. Once they shone with a soft warm sun, coloured a pale blue and white. Not the bleeding amethyst and white anger now reflected in the clouds.
Why and how the storms came is lost to time. Stories passed on from survivors told of different reasons, perhaps none, perhaps all, the truth.
Now only the tower remains. Only the storms.

~*~




Inescapable

I stare at the burning sky.
Waiting.
I am alone, surrounded by millions of people. We are all alone as we wait for death. Wait for our planet to die.
I wonder how long it will take?
Will the atmosphere consume itself, leaving inhabitants to slowly asphyxiate from lack of breathable air? Or will it rain poison down upon us? Will we burn as well? Will it hurt? Or will we close our eyes and gently fall into the arms of death?
All these thoughts rush through my mind.
I stare at the burning sky and wait for the inevitable.

~*~




Summer Storm

“The sunset sure makes those storms clouds look pretty. All shadows and pink, with a little glow underneath. Funny how that is. That something fixing to be ornery can be so pretty when it starts.” I smile at Jeb. “Sort of how our marriage commenced. It was agreeable in the beginning. All pretty like those clouds. Sorry how things turned out.”
Jeb didn’t answer. ‘Cept for his moaning. I don’t blame him none. On account of my shooting him and all. Yep, having a hole in your gut kills the conversating. ‘Tis annoying, though, his lingering. Hope he dies soon.





© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved




Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Drabble Wednesday: Parallels

Today on Drabble Wednesday I’m shaking it up a bit. I’ve written three drabbles, all with the same setting, the same main character, and the same opening line. However, each story takes a different path, unfolding into three different parallel worlds…





Bad Choices

Phillip Reilly waited at the far end of the park’s foot bridge. He watched the sunset, his nerves jangling, feeling like he wanted to jump out of his skin. He didn’t want to be here, but he couldn’t see another way to fix all his choices and mistakes.
His stomach rolled, anticipation making him ill.
Why doesn’t she get here?
He heard footsteps on the path leading to the bridge. He reached behind his back and closed his fingers on cold steel. His estranged wife walked into view. He pulled his gun and shot her three times in the chest.




Rendezvous

Phillip Reilly waited at the far end of the park’s foot bridge. Under the calming amalgam of sunset colours lighting up the sky, he breathed the fresh air. Phillip shook off the workday and the office, anticipating his first glance of her. He looked forward to this surprise all day, presenting her this special gift.
What’s taking her so long?
He shifted his feet and sighed, then brightened as he heard footsteps along the path. He smiled at his girlfriend as she stepped onto the foot bridge.
Dropping onto one knee, he opened the ring box.
“Will you marry me?”




Crooked Paths

Phillip Reilly waited at the far end of the park’s foot bridge. The shadows cast by the setting sun helped hide him as he crouched in bushes. He stuffed his hands in the pockets of his windbreaker, and kept his breathing even.
Keep calm, keep calm. Be patient.
As he heard the footsteps echo on the bridge, he readied his muscles, tensed as he saw her shadow coming closer. In one swift attack he grabbed her arm, smacking his fist in her face. She fell against the rail, screaming. Phillip hit her again, then he grabbed her purse and ran.






© A. F. Stewart 2015 All Rights Reserved


Saturday, 22 August 2015

Book Spotlight: Blood Day: The Novella

I have a spotlight today, the novella, Blood Day from the very talented author Sarah Butland. The book is a continuation of the tale started in her award winning short story of the same name. Enjoy...







Blood Day: the Novella by Sarah Butland

In many ways Veronica is not a typical human, maybe she's not even a human at all. Blood Day takes the reader on  a journey of discovery to find out who she really is and why she doesn't bleed.


Blood Day is available on Amazon















Author Bio:

Sarah Butland was born in Ontario, the year was 1982. She was moved to New Brunswick for over 15 years and now resides at home in Nova Scotia, Canada. Butland has been married to her high school sweetheart and has a superstar son named William.3

Butland started creating while still learning to walk and in years to follow was able to put a writing utensil to paper to document her creations before they were completely lost. Of course, her first manuscripts were in dire need of editing but she didn't seem to mind nor did her readers.

The first "big break" for Butland came when she was still a teenager feeling like she was unlike every other teenager she knew. She heard from a poetry contest that her poem "Wrong Shell" would be published in their anthology; would she kindly send them thousands of dollars to continue on in the finals. Butland's parents refused. So began the struggle of discovering which awards were actually earned not bought.

Thursday, 20 August 2015

Interview with Nate Gutman

Today I have an interview with writer Nate Gutman, author of Bill the Fly. Enjoy.


 Interview with Nate Gutman



1. Why don’t you begin by sharing a little about yourself?

I grew up in Titusville, FL as the oldest of five with an affinity towards, primarily, music. I learned guitar and my neighbor and I actually started a band when we were thirteen. Naturally, that project petered out, but we actually have played off and on pretty consistently for the last decade or so. 

As I grew older, I realized that what I liked most about music was the lyrics and mood of the songs. The actual words you sung were imperative to that tone, and that sent me into studying poetry, and culminated in the love of reading that I carry with me today. I really enjoy the classics, particularly the ones that are a little off-color and show some of the darker sides of society. I guess it's that interest that spurred Bill the Fly along.


2. Do you have a favourite author, or writing inspiration?

I couldn't narrow down just one author that inspired me, but I could give you a filmmaker. For several months, as the idea for Bill the Fly was percolating, I went through a serious David Lynch binge. That guy is just fantastic. More than anything, I think his films taught me that things don't have to make sense to make sense, if that makes sense? I digress, but he's a huge influence to me.


3. Could you tell us a bit about Bill the Fly?

Bill the Fly is a lot of things, but I think of it as a surreal absurdist comedy. The book follows a loser, the bachelor, Jacob Kingsley, and every action in the book has his stink on it. We're given an objective depiction of almost nothing. Everything is tainted by Jacob's selfish and often errant point of view. 

Because Jacob is such a terrible person, there's a darkly comedic element to how he views the people around him--always turning situations around and making them about himself. There's a fly named Bill and he acts as Jacob's accomplice, reaffirming him in his selfishness as Jacob slips further and further into his own psyche, of sorts. 

I've talked pretty seriously thus far, but it's still a comedy. It has a talking fly in it for god's sake. 


4. Why did you write Bill the Fly? What was your inspiration?

I can't remember where I read it, but somewhere there was a news article about an elderly woman that crashed her car off a cliff and was trapped in it for days. Apparently, she talked to a fly to help keep her calm and sane and I thought that was an awesome idea. I kind of went the opposite direction with it though. 


5. What did you enjoy most about writing your book?

How easily it came. I've written full-length novels--five or six of them--but they were always a pain to get through and I never liked the finish product enough to try sending it out or publishing it on my own. Bill the Fly was different. I wrote it quicker than anything I've written before, and it always engaged me. So that's what I enjoyed most--actually liking it. 


6. Can you tell us about your writing process? Where do your ideas originate? Do you have a certain writing routine?

I don't have much of a process, probably just because life doesn't allow me one. I write in spurts. A little in the morning before work, a little after work, a little before bed. Eventually it gets done. I rarely have the time to just sit down and write a novel, and, even when I do, I get distracted pretty easily. 

My ideas come from my pocket notebook. Whenever I think of anything interesting I write it down in there. An idea can come at any time, and I don't want to lose it. Most of what's in there is just scribbles that I'll probably never use, but there’re a few golden ones there.


7. What is your greatest challenge as a writer?

As a self-published writer with less-than-desirable sales, I think my greatest challenge is just to stay positive--to believe that all the time and effort you put in week after week will pay off eventually, and that your ideas are unique and worthwhile. 


8. Are you working on another book?

I'm always writing. I'm sure I'll be releasing something in 2016. I have an idea of what that will be now, but it could change down the road. 


9. What advice would you give beginning writers?

Just write. Even if what you're writing is complete and utter hogwash, just write it. You might find it's not so bad when you're done, and, even if it turns out that it is, you've gotten some good practice in for next time. 


Bill the Fly is available at Amazon
And this weekend, Aug 21st- 23rd, the Kindle version will be free! 



Author Bio:

Nate Gutman grew up in Titusville, FL as the oldest of five. He began writing short stories for his good friend and neighbor in his early teen years, and carried the habit into his adult life, eventually branching out to poetry and novels.
He received his BA in Literature from Ave Maria University, and lives in Manassas, VA with his wife, Kim.

You can find him on twitter @nategutman, and at his website www.nategutman.com


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